Wednesday, December 23, 2020

  • Wednesday, December 23, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Al Jazeera has an op-ed by Jalal Abukhater whining about normalization between Israel and the UAE. 

Abukhater went to the University of Dundee, Scotland, and since then has used his English skills to write for Countercurrents, Electronic Intifada and most recently The Guardian. He lives in Jerusalem.

In his Al Jazeera piece, he complains that Emiratis visiting Israel are a "slap in the face" for Palestinians. 

He writes:

In the second half of the year, a series of Arab states added to our collective misery by announcing their decision to normalise their relations with Israel. By effectively abandoning their supposed commitment to supporting Palestinian self-determination for money, weapons and a few short-term political gains, they sent us a clear message that our suffering and struggle for the most basic human rights no longer matter to them.
If there is one skill that is completely lacking in Palestinian DNA, it is the ability to view the world from any other perspective besides their own bitter viewpoint. They have been so blinded for so long that they simply cannot comprehend that there has been a huge change happening under their feet for two decades in how the Arab world views them. 

Arab leaders would speak about their support for Palestinians out loud every day, drafting lots of anti-Israel resolutions in Arab and international forums, but beneath the surface everyone but the Palestinians themselves could see the fissures in the relationship. Arab nations would pledge hundreds of millions of dollars for "Palestine" or "Jerusalem" and pay only a tiny portion, if anything. They expressed deep frustration at how Palestinians couldn't unify under one leadership. They saw how the Fatah and Hamas would fight, bicker and arrest members of the other groups. They saw Palestinian leaders say "no" to repeated peace offers by Israel. And, of course, the Arab nations saw how Palestinians continued to cozy up to Iran as Iran threatened the Arabs of the Gulf. 

Palestinians kept themselves blind to this. Their newspapers would rarely report on these stories. Their anger at the UAE "betrayal" is more because of their own choice to ignore 20 years of warning signs than anything the UAE is actually doing.

As far as the UAE not caring about Palestinians, this is clearly not true - they have sent COVID aid to the Palestinians, which was rejected by the PA even before the Abraham Accords but which Hamas has accepted. The UAE has been arranging to bring the Russian COVID vaccine into the PA territories. 

More manifestations of Palestinian cluelessness manifest in Abukhater's op-ed:
The arrival of hundreds of Emiratis in Israel to enjoy the historic sites of Jerusalem and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque was a slap in the face for us. After all, millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, just two dozen kilometres away from Al-Aqsa, can only dream about stepping foot in the mosque that is the third holiest site in Islam.
They can only dream about it? In recent years, Israel has issued hundreds of thousands of travel permits for Palestinians to visit Jerusalem - and even Tel Aviv! - during Ramadan, and Palestinians over 40 didn't even need a permit. In fact, some years the PA itself prohibited Palestinians from traveling! 

There's another irony here. Abukhater lives in Jerusalem, meaning that he can visit Al Aqsa every day. He can also visit the rest of Israel every day. And he can also visit Ramallah every day. He, an Arab, has more freedom of movement than any Jew in Israel, including Jews who want to visit holy sites in Nablus or Jericho or elsewhere. 

Of course, we Palestinian Jerusalemites were already used to seeing Muslim pilgrims from Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia or other non-Arab Muslim-majority countries at Al-Aqsa. Over the years, Palestinians rarely had any problem with these visitors, as they overwhelmingly believe this holiest of mosques should not be monopolised by any subset of Muslims, even under the devastating conditions of an occupation.

But the Palestinian Jerusalemites were not as accepting of Emirati tourists as others.
So who is intolerant? 

Abukhater doesn't even realize what he is saying here.  Citizens of countries that make peace with Israel are given the right to visit Israel proportionate to the closeness of relations. This should not be surprising - it is natural. 

A Jewish woman was murdered, apparently by Palestinians, only two days ago. There was a Palestinian terror shooting also this week in Jerusalem. Is it really so strange that Israel limits Palestinian access to areas with Jews? 

If Palestinians would act like Emiratis, they would have a state. If they accepted Jews as natives of the Middle East as Emiratis do, accept Israel as a Jewish state, and end their rhetorical and monetary support for terrorists,  they would be able to visit Israel freely as well. 

Israel's peace with the UAE and other Arab states proves this. Israel isn't anti-Arab or Islamophobic  - it wants peace, security and acceptance, and is willing to bend over backwards to accommodate Arabs who provide that. 

Palestinian hate and antisemitism and intransigence are the obstacles to peace. The UAE and Bahrain and Morocco prove it. 

(h/t Josh Korn)

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